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So Frank Thomas is coming to T.O. Okay, that in itself provides plenty to talk about (do so here) ... but have you noticed, there are a few other things going on?

Bob Geren will manage the A's ... and maybe, just maybe, also manage that Bonds fellow? ... The Cubs traded for Neal Cotts in their first swap with their crosstown neighbors since the legendary deal of Jon Garland to the ChiSox for the immortal Matt Karchner ... And oh yeah, The Best Pitcher in the World (sorry, Mr. Matsuzaka), Johan Santana, won his second (of what could eventually be seven or eight) AL Cy Young Award ...

Thoughts?

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Well, it looks like the Jays might be making an early splash. ESPN.com reports that the Jays are "closing in on a deal with Thomas".

Ken Rosenthal adds that the deal is for 2 years and at least $20 million with a club option for a third year. Jon Heyman at CNNSI.com has the deal at two years and $23 million.

It's possible both contract reports are correct if the third year option has a buyout in it for $3 million.
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(Yeah, I know I rhymed go with go.)
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Jeff Blair's back with a couple of columns.
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Today, a look at the offseason.
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And now the pitchers.
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Wildrose, with some thoughts on the home field advantage.

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Part II, focusing on the fielders.
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When we bring the discussion round to career wins by pitchers, we encounter a very serious question.

Where to set the bar?
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The first of a multi-part series this week.
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Here's an article by intrepid correspondent Callum Hughson. Imagine how much you'd like it if I had any idea how to format these things.

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During a random trip to my local library I came across a recent baseball book by Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott, titled The Northern Game. I checked it out and gave it a read. The main point of interest for me was the appendix. Here, Elliott asked Canadian baseball experts from all over the nation for lists of the greatest provincial and national baseball players of all-time. Taking the honours at first base was a late 1800s ballplayer named Bill Phillips. Now I canít tell you all that much about Phillips, other than he was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, that he began his career at 22 and that he played during some of the early tumultuous years of professional baseball. Like most modern Canadian baseball fans would, I scanned my brain to come up with another choice. The most logical was Justin Morneau. As we all know, Justin has had a very short major league career. But after sifting through the data, I came to the conclusion that even if Morneau retired today, he should still be considered the number one Canadian first baseman of all-time. Hereís how I came to that conclusion.

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At the close of the 2006 baseball season, there were 11 active pitchers with 200 or more career wins. With the possible exception of Roger Clemens, all are currently scheduled to return for the 2007 season.

Okay, maybe David Wells (3-5, 4.42) is done, too, but it's possible that all 11 will be in uniform next season, and joined in the "200 Club" by John Smoltz (who has 193) and Andy Pettitte (186).

What's so unusual about all this? Well ...
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I was writing about the Tigers the other day, puzzling out how this year's AL champs were assembled. Some of the players were drafted, some were signed as free agents, some were obtained in trade - just like everybody else.
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Has there ever been a bigger birthday for MLB than October 20? That's a real question, and not just because today is my dad's birthday and we did an All-October 20 team a year ago.

Consider ...

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The Little League World Series (LLWS) was held this summer, as usual, in Williamsport Pennsylvania.  The LLWS gets full coverage on ESPN and ended happily for the network with a team from Georgia winning the title.  Charles Euchnerís new book  ďLittle League, Big Dreams, the Hope, the Hype and the Glory of the greatest World Series ever playedĒ examines the LLWS from the perspective of the teams in the 2005 series, and provides an in depth look behind the scenes of the biggest show in kids baseball.

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